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Idaho State News

U.S. Attorney Hurwit Announces Trio of Child Predators Held Accountable in East Idaho

U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Idaho

POCATELLO – In the past week, two East Idaho men were sentenced, and one man was convicted at trial, in cases involving the sexual exploitation of children, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced today.

“My office will continue to aggressively prosecute predators who prey upon children,” said U.S. Attorney Hurwit. “Those who harm the most vulnerable members of our society must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.”

On January 25, after a three-day trial, a federal jury sitting in Pocatello found Joseph Hornof, 41, of Blackfoot, guilty of two counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye presided over the trial. Following the jury’s verdict, Hornof is subject to a sentencing enhancement for committing a prior sex offense against a child in 2009 in Bannock County, Idaho.

On January 26, Shawn Chase Cody, 41, of Pocatello, was sentenced to 80 years in federal prison for production and possession of child pornography. According to court records, in August 2019, law enforcement received an investigative lead that Cody sexually abused multiple children for the past six years. Law enforcement learned from the victims that Cody possessed videos of these acts on his phone and computer. Cody was later arrested after his home was searched and the child pornography he produced was found on his devices. Also found in his possession were 2,259 still images and 53 videos of child pornography that he downloaded on the Internet.

On January 31, Bobby Clee Roberts, 53, of Rupert, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for possession of child pornography. After law enforcement searched Roberts’ house, they found 19,200 files of child pornography located on his devices.

U.S. Attorney Hurwit thanked Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Idaho Falls, the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho ICAC Task Force, Boone North Carolina Police Department, Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office, and the Rupert Police Department for their cooperative efforts that led to the charges.

“I am proud of the work that our Project Safe Childhood team does every day in conjunction with our law enforcement partners,” said U.S. Attorney Hurwit. “It’s impressive to see the commitment and the long hours that attorneys and investigators put into these complex investigations.”

These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.